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By Bad Left Hook

Berlin, Germany (April 2, 2017)– Mairis Briedis made a gamble when he stepped into hostile territory for a shot at a world title and it paid off. The Latvian bruiser cruised past veteran Marco Huck in Germany, taking home both the vacant WBC belt and Huck’s IBO belt after twelve rounds.

Though known as a puncher, Briedis (22-0, 18 KO) showed surprising smarts and technique, working behind a stiff jab and constantly clamping down on Huck’s (40-4-1, 27 KO) right hand in the clinch when the latter tried his customary roughhousing. Briedis found his mark consistently with body shots and heavy right hands upstairs, including the lovely uppercut he used to fell Manuel Charr, while Huck struggled to put together meaningful offense outside a handful of bursts.

Huck did try to knuckle down and swing in the last few rounds, but Briedis, who had never before gone twelve, met him with gusto, seemingly certain he had the gas left to unleash full-force blows. I had the fight a clean sweep for Briedis, while the judges gave Huck four, three, and two rounds, respectively. Three is about as many as I’d be willing to concede.

The question now is whether “Champion Emeritus” Tony Bellew will come back down or whether Briedis will go after one of his fellow champions, like Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev. Either way, the cruiserweight division has a very, very good new titlist.

Elsewhere on the card, Christina Hammer (21-0, 9 KO) had no issues whatsoever with Maria Lindberg (15-2-2, 8 KO), handily outboxing her shorter foe from range. Lindberg simply could not get past Hammer’s stinging jab and the combinations she put together behind them, ultimately losing all ten rounds on all three scorecards.

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